Homeward Bound (song)

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"Homeward Bound"
Homeward Bound cover.jpg
Single by Simon and Garfunkel
from the album Sounds of Silence [UK], Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme [US]
Released January 19, 1966
Format 7"
Recorded December 14, 1965
Genre Folk rock
Length 2:42
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Paul Simon
Producer(s) Bob Johnston
Simon and Garfunkel singles chronology
"The Sound of Silence"
"Homeward Bound"
"I Am a Rock"
"The Sound of Silence"
"Homeward Bound"
"I Am a Rock"

"Homeward Bound" is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel from their third studio album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966), although it was recorded during the sessions for their second album Sounds of Silence and included on that album in the UK. Produced by Bob Johnston, the song was released as a single on January 19, 1966 by Columbia Records. Written by Paul Simon, the song was composed in 1964 during his period in England. Away from his girlfriend, Kathy Chitty, while touring clubs, Simon felt depressed and homesick. He first penned the song on a scrap of paper at Widnes railway station.

"Homeward Bound" was the duo's second single, the follow-up to their enormously successful breakthrough hit "The Sound of Silence". It performed very well domestically, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the charts for 12 weeks. Internationally, the song performed best in Canada, where it hit number two; it was also a top five hit in the Netherlands.


A plaque commemorating the song at the Widnes railway station.

"Homeward Bound" was written after Simon returned to England in the spring of 1964. He had previously spent time in Essex, and he became a nightly fixture at the Railway Hotel in Brentwood, beginning that April.[1] He was reeling from his brief period in the Greenwich Village folk scene, as well as the recording of his first album with Art Garfunkel, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., which he anticipated would be a failure.[2] During this time, he met Kathy Chitty, who was working as a ticket-taker at the club. The two hit it off instantly, but it became clear that Simon desired to perform in London, resulting in an emotional farewell.[2] Following a performance in Liverpool, Simon was at Widnes railway station, waiting for the early morning milk train to London. He had been missing Chitty's company and he began to write "Homeward Bound" on a scrap of paper.[3]

Chitty is mentioned in several other Simon & Garfunkel songs, most notably "Kathy's Song" and "America". In their 1969 hit "The Boxer", Simon alludes to a railway station, a possible reference to "Homeward Bound".[4] A plaque commemorating this claim to fame is displayed on the Liverpool bound platform of Widnes railway station.[5] Simon is quoted as saying "[i]f you'd ever seen Widnes, then you'd know why I was keen to get back to London as quickly as possible."[6]

In popular culture[edit]

A live version of the song takes the place of the studio version of the compilation Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits, and its performance from the duo's legendary 1981 reunion concert appeared on the subsequent live album; Simon himself has performed the song with other artists such as George Harrison (on a 1976 Saturday Night Live episode) and Willie Nelson (at a 2003 musical celebration of Nelson's 70th birthday). Several artists have covered this song, including Richard Barnes, The Beau Brummels, Cher, Glen Campbell, Janie Fricke, Davey Graham, Jack Jones, Jack's Mannequin, Petula Clark, Cliff Richard, Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, Ronan Keating, The New Christy Minstrels, the Glee Cast as a mash-up with Phillip Phillips' "Home" on Glee.

A karaoke version was performed by Justin Theroux in the season two finale of The Leftovers.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1966)[7] Peak
Australian Kent Music Report 20
Canadian RPM 100[8] 2
Dutch Singles Chart 4
New Zealand (Listener)[9] 1
Swedish Singles Chart 12
UK Singles Chart[10] 9
US Billboard Hot 100[11] 5
Rhodesia Singles Chart[12] 4



  1. ^ Eliot 2010, p. 48.
  2. ^ a b Eliot 2010, p. 49.
  3. ^ Eliot 2010, p. 50.
  4. ^ Eliot 2010, p. 103.
  5. ^ GADFLY - Paul's fair deal for Scarborough Northern Echo (Darlington); 7 June 2006; MIKE AMOS; p. 11
  6. ^ Backtrack - BACKTRACK BRIEFS . . . Northern Echo (Darlington); 21 November 2008; Mike Amos; p. 11
  7. ^ Steffen Hung. "Simon & Garfunkel - Homeward Bound". Swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  8. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  9. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 27 May 1966
  10. ^ "ChartArchive - Simon And Garfunkel". archive.is. Archived from the original on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2016-07-22. 
  11. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  12. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000


See also[edit]

External links[edit]